Maya Deren (April 29, 1917 – October 13, 1961), born Eleonora Derenkowska (Ukrainian: ??????´?? ???????´?????), was a Ukrainian-born American experimental filmmaker and important promoter of the avant-garde in the 1940s and 1950s.
Deren was also a choreographer, dancer, film theorist, poet, lecturer, writer, and photographer.
The function of film, Deren believed, was to create an experience.
She combined her interests in dance, Haitian Vodou and subjective psychology in a series of surreal, perceptual, black-and-white short films.
Using editing, multiple exposures, jump-cutting, superimposition, slow-motion, and other camera techniques to her advantage, Deren abandoned established notions of physical space and time, resulting in a stream-of-consciousness approach.
Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), her collaboration with Alexander Hammid, has been one of the most influential experimental films in American cinema history.
She went on to make several films of her own, including At Land (1944), A Study in Choreography for Camera (1945), and Ritual in Transfigured Time (1946), writing, producing, directing, editing, and photographing them with help from only one other person, Hella Heyman, her camerawoman.